tv 20th Century Trailblazing Women Lawyers CSPAN June 23, 2018 10:31pm-12:01am EDT
announcer: our nine-week series 1968 america in turmoil is available as a podcast. u can find it on our website c-span.org/history. > in 2005, the bar association initiated 100 interviews with women senior lawyers. including janet reno and ruth bader ginsberg. next, legal historian jill norgren discusses her book "stories from trailblazing women lawyers," based on the transcripts from these interviews. the wilson center and national history center cohosted this 90-minute talk.
>> i am delighted to welcome back to the woodrow wilson center professor jill norgren. she is a professor of government legal studies emerita at the john jay college in the city of new york. she has received numerous awards and fellowships for her work, including from the rockefeller foundation, the national endowment for the humanities, the american council, societies and so on. one of her outstanding books is "the cherokee cases: the confrontation of law and politics," and if you wonder why i'm talking the something having to do with native americans, you will find out in a moment.
she is also the co-author of "american cultural pluralism and aw," which has gone into three editions, and one of the articles she wrote was awarded the hughes gaza prize by the supreme court historical society in 1995 where she received her award from the hands of a chief justice of the united states. she then turned herself, her scholarship to women and the law, producing "belva lockwood: the woman who would be president," and the volume had a foreword by justice ruth bader ginsburg, and it's about the woman who made it possible or women to argue before the united states supreme court. understanding it would be nice for the younger generation to
appreciate that as well, she produced a young adult book called "belva lockwood: equal rights pioneer." she then wrote a book called "rebels of the bar: the forgotten stories of america's women lawyers." she's also the cofounder of a website called her hat was in the ring, u.s. women who ran for political office before 1920, which now has more than 3500 biographical and trees, letting us all know that women were running for office before they were allowed to vote in most jurisdictions, which is an interesting anomaly. with that, i'm going to turn the microphone over to professor norgren to talk about "stories
from trailblazing women lawyers: lives in the law." dr. norgren: i will start by saying it was a pleasure to be back here. i had a wonderful year as a fellow. e had a great class. would like to start by i would like to start by thanking the center of historical association and the wilson center's center for public policy for allowing the to be here because i am launching the public life of the book today. i would like to thank you for offering the opportunity and also to peter and amanda who has been on the other end of computer helping me with logistics. my dermatologist recently asked me what i was up to. dr. norgren: i describe the stores project and said the book ould be published shortly.
a new yorker through and through, she said, "oh, fantastic, a book about kick-ass omen." cocked my head, thought and replied, "kick-ass? yes, that's who you are." my book provokes two questions -- the effect of the cost of exclusion on the individual, particularly in a society such s ours that elevates the ndividual in most -- in both social and political status, and also the cost of exclusion to u.s. society over the years and including today. what has happened as a result, for example, of women who wanted
to join the legal profession, half of the potential pool of talent -- what happens when you exclude that much talent? how does it change society? what would our constitution look like if women had been lawyers back at the founding of the epublic? what would congressional legislation look like if women had been part of congress from the beginning of the republic? what would our criminal justice ystem look like if women had been part of the legal system from the time of the colonies or the republic? what would civil law look like hen? as i'm talking today, let that float around. the history -- the project is
about the history of women in the profession and about these questions, the cost to women of not having these opportunities and having to fight for them, and what was the cost to our society? my book is about 20th-century american women and the profession of law. it draws upon oral histories collected from 100 women lawyers s part of the american bar trailblazing. association women's this project was founded by -- the project founders are here and deserve a hand. most of you know them, but not all of you do. the project was carried out on the us possess of aba -- the uspices of the aba's legal commission. since we are in a think tank and i'm an academic, let me start
with a project's methodology, which was not of my doing but needs to be explained to you. enior women lawyers, including judges, were approached by the project based on their outstanding accomplishments in a male-dominated profession as well as their commitment to opening opportunities are other women. many of them were recipients of the commission on women's women lawyers achievement award. for the most part, women trailblazers project took oral histories from individuals born in the 1930's and 1940's, women who attended law school in the 1950's and 1960's, a few in the arly 1970's. there were, however, a number who were older. miriam wolf, born in 1916. in new d, shirley segal
york city, born in 1919, and smith, also born in 1919 and several more born in the 1920's. more than 100 women agreed to give oral interviews and created their oral histories. the transcripts of these histories are available on the aba's website with the exception of a handful that are restricted for the next several years. each trailblazers was interviewed by a woman lawyer from her community who had been trained as an interviewer by the project. the project provided the interviewer with a broad list of suggested topics, covering the trailblazer's entire life to be used in the interviews, which within tape-recorded and later transcribed. most of the interviews required several interview sessions. when transcribed, these sessions range from 100 to 250 pages in
length, with a few less than 100 pages and several as long as 500 pages. the individual -- remember, all of you gave your time and the interviewers gave their ime. it was quite a commitment on everybody's part, an act of love n terms of getting the history of women down. the individual is given the opportunity to edit their oral history. copies of the transcript would deposited with the library of congress and schlesinger library in cambridge, massachusetts. the robert crown law library at stanford is currently developing a website that will feature the transcripts along with available audio and visual recordings, photographs, other biographical material. after the oral histories had been transcribed, i was approached it as -- and asked if as a biographer of women lawyers
and be interested in writing a book on these oral histories. i was given all the transcripts. why did i agree to take on the project? first, i knew it was intrinsically interesting and important as an archive of women professionals, but i also signed on because it would complement the writing that i have pursued for a number of years on women in the legal profession. so i will make my publisher happy by showing you the three books that exist by helping you understand the history of women lawyers in u.s. society. all right, so 100 oral histories. what, you might ask, is in my book? learly not everything, and for hat, i'm sorry, but,
fortunately for all of you and for the many students and journalists interested in this story, you can, for example, go to the american bar association senior lawyers division -- my screenshot did not quite get here, but on the left-hand bar at the bottom, you can see senior lawyers division. if you click on senior lawyers division, you will get a page i think on the right-hand bar that gives you a list of all the women whose oral histories are currently available. if you don't know where to start and don't think that you are up to reading 100 oral histories, there is a little bit of a
shortcut, and that is a facebook page i created for the book. if you go to it by just writing in facebook and the title of the book, you will get the short biographical entries that i've been doing this winter, so what you can do is take a look at what the backgrounds and the legal focus of the different women are and say, "these are the five i want to read right now." it gives you a kind of annotation that i think can be helpful to you, and i really hope that you will go to the aba page and start reading some of hem because they are amazing. i want for a minute to talk about the earliest american women lawyers to give you a context. women came into the profession of law in handfuls beginning in the period right after the
american civil war ended, about he 1860's. a few law schools admitted women, but most of these women educated themselves in the same manner as men. that is -- they apprenticed with fathers, uncles, brothers, trusted neighbors who were lawyers. the women in this slide are some of the very earliest women who were given bar accreditation in the 1870's and 1880's. what i think is interesting -- when i stepped back from writing about them and was answering a tudent's question about what they did, i was struck that even
in this early period with no real formal law school education as we know it now and without any other kind of networking context, these women insinuated themselves not in the same way into the practice of law, but in different ways. for example, on the bottom right, the well-known myra bradwell of supreme court case fame -- what did she do with her legal education? she built a stupendous legal publishing empire. other women on this slide were interested in criminal justice. four of them, for example, which tells us something about what they were thinking about in the 19th century. one taught law, and all of them had, with the exception of bradwell, i guess, had small practices. one of these women was the person that professor strom mentioned, belva lockwood, who was admitted to the bar here in
d.c. in the early 1870's. important not only because she was one of the first women lawyers but because through her lobbying, she opened the u.s. supreme court bar to all qualified women lawyers and therefore the rest of the federal bar. she also ran for the presidency in 1884 and 1888 and continued to practice until her 80's and at that point in her life actually had a major win as -- at the supreme court representing the eastern branch herokee indians. if we look a little bit more, this is her supreme court bar certificate. so we want to think a little bit about these early women lawyers, and there is a historical
ontext, of course. they were coming out and fighting to become lawyers, fighting where the bars would not accept them, for example, which was the case with bradwell, lockwood, and several others. they were fighting in a period of reform -- reformed spirit and reformed struggle that followed after the civil war. we know that women were fighting for the vote in this period, but perhaps you've no less -- again, as professor strum said -- that part of the excitement of this period is that women also began running for office. in a number of cases, they were running to be selected or not by an all-male constituency. that is to say, they themselves did not have the vote. lockwood herself said, "i can be voted for even if i cannot vote." so it was a very interesting eriod.
if we continue into the early 20th century, if you look at the bottom of this slide, there are some names i think you might more readily recall. florence kelley, for example. bessie margolin, the subject of a recent biography. those of you from new york may know and across -- anna kross. amazing women. the last there -- does anyone know her? dr. norgren: that's correct, on air force one after the kennedy assassination. ok, so, having read all of these ral histories and reflected on them and written about them, i think i have to tell you what argument i want to make about why it was possible for these women and others to move forward
in the period from the late 60's n. when i say move forward, i'm talking about in greater numbers because we know there were women. he list i just showed you, for example, as well as some 19th-century women, but i'm talking about building greater numbers. i will argue there were five or six, depending on if you collapse the categories, explanations. one is that after world war ii, there began an expansion of both capital building and funding in american universities. the g.i.'s came back. there was a g.i. bill. legislatures at the state level began funding universities so that we end up, if you look at the statistics there on new
york's suny -- were talking about systems that expanded to have dozens and dozens of campuses. private colleges expanded as well. there was even more of an infusion of government money after sputnik, the russian satellite, went up in 1957. in all of this, women were pulled in in greater numbers. some said seeking their m-r-s, but more families were willing o send their daughters out and send their daughters out to residential universities instead of just local ones. ou are building here a core of educated women to be part of the group that will be applying to aw school.
the second thing that i think benefited the ultimate expansion of women into law schools is the african-american civil rights movement where men and women received leadership training, which resulted in key pieces of legislation, which, intended or not as is debated over title seven, benefited women and also helped in the creation of federal agencies, so the commission on civil rights in 1957 and the eeoc mandated as a 1964 act. next, i don't think there is anyway you can talk about the advancement of women in any profession and employment without understanding the importance of science and technology in making the pill possible, and we kind of have the completion of the circle that is begun by margaret sanger
nd was made possible in some large measure through the work of the scientist don raab, and you will see that i have included a quote from one of the trailblazers who said, "the pill ade possible the career i have loved." -- the work of the scientist don rock. the list is so long. elping in leadership, creating a climate of questioning and demand in, a whole new vocabulary through the work of imone de beauvoir, the publication of "our bodies, ourselves," legal challenges to birth control cases early on, executive orders such as jobs pertaining to federal contracts,
the creation of public interest law organizations, so the women's rights project in new york, the two organizations that were started down here a little after that in d.c., the increase in women running for elected office, and sort of in that also, the houston onference. we never would have had any kind of collection of humanity with signs like this, but the women's movement made this possible. hese are photographs by lawyer and political scientist joe freeman, and part of what the women's movement was arguing is that, of course, we need women
in the public sphere for so many reasons, but starting with young children, we need people who are going to look like us. michelle obama made this plane over and over, and i'm sorry i cannot tell you the photographer of this wonderful photograph, but i think it makes the point beautifully. another point that was incredibly critical in terms of omen making their way into the profession of law in the 1970's was sadly, the vietnam war. seats were left open at law schools. law schools wanted the tuition money, so formal and informal quotas that had existed were quietly dropped and women were admitted. the one thing that i guess i have not included in the slide but wanted to mention, certainly for those of you who worked on it, is that the campaign for the equal rights amendment i think
also figures in important kind of overarching ways with respect to changes in women's lives, including the entry of women into professions. the historians among you will remember that it was first introduced into congress in 1923. it was we introduced by democratic representative martha griffin's in 1971 with a ratification period that was supposed to end in 1979. was altered to 1982, but as you know, we did not succeed in getting a sufficient number of states to ratify it, but i think the important point is that it provoked an enormous public debate. unfortunately, from my perspective, it paid too much attention to toilets, but that aside, we had our more serious moment.
now to the book. just a sort of summarize because that's all we will able to do, certainly before the q&a, i tried to follow what i saw as the template in the interviews. lmost all of the interviews -- not all of them, but many of them began by asking you to talk about your childhood, and what we found out is that the trailblazers came from many, many different classes. they were by no means women of privilege. i think that was one of the striking things. many, many women were really from families that were quite poor. one person reported her mother taking and wash after her father fell ill. other families struggled in a variety of ways, so i think that is important to keep before us,
that people were able to continue in school and families in many ways did without their incomes and let them go to college, which was not always the case, particularly before world war ii. most of the trailblazers came from two-parent families. one was raised by a dad alone. a number of trailblazers went to all-girl high schools, and they were pretty fierce in their defense of them. they believe that all girl schools enhance gender empowerment. not a few read nancy drew. dr. norgren: i came across an article the other day interviewing some of our women supreme court justices as well as hillary clinton on the matter, and nancy drew was variously described why these ladies as inspirational figure with an adventurous nature, a girl full of daring, a girl of
character and courage, smart, brave, and hillary clinton said a multitasker. if you remember your nancy drew, nancy kept house for her dad, went to school, and then had her little capers. i always used to make fun of nancy drew, but in fact, those are pretty good characteristics or us to follow, right? parental support was and was not given. i don't think that should surprise us given the time period. young women were still fighting with respect to going to college in some families, and law school, as i'll say in a minute, for some was a real problem in terms of family expectations. janet reno, our first woman attorney, said, "having three daughters, it never occurred to y father that we couldn't do anything.
karen mathis was nicknamed kj by her mother because her mother said no one will know if you are a man or woman and they will not iscriminate against you. there are also stories of families that were not supportive. judge friedman up in new york state had female relatives in her italian-american immigrant community of buffalo who worked hard to undercut her aspirations. they thought, she said, she was being highfalutin for going on in school. in her presence, one of these aunts asked, "who does marianne and she is -- think she is?" one of these women said, there is nothing that makes me happier than scrubbing my floors and making them gleam, and that should be enough for her, too. but she had another aunt, and i loved her because she seemed so spunky.
the aunt responded to her sister, nobody wants to eat off your floor, and if marianne wants to go to law school, she should go to law school because no one wants to eat off of her loor either. dr. norgren: still, as i said, issues dog these women as they proceeded to law school. who will marry an over achiever dog a number of women in high chool and later. one trailblazer reported that she messed up her grades in high school so she wouldn't be the class brain or nerd and that she id that all the way to graduation.
lawyer and congresswoman patricia schroeder reported that her mom, who worked full-time, dog her -- dogged her about marrying because she wanted to ecome a grandmother, and there was apparently some tension over that. there were other relatives who were supported in phenomenal ays. two different people reported that members of their family who were uncles rather than parents paid for their schooling. one mortgaged his house to do it. really quite extraordinary. the template asks women to talk about the learner -- the lure of the law for these women. what i found is, again, a variety of replies. some said reading newspapers and reading about the mccarthy period, about issues of racial
justice had motivated them. others talked about biography reading. still others talked about the presence and influence of family and neighbors. trailblazers developed an interest in law, and its power, for example, one family hosted african-american lawyers who refused to stay in nearby segregated hotels, and these lawyers taught freeman the power of law to bring change. carla hills said reading works of history led her to believe that people with influence were awesome lawyers. trying to decide if the law had some lure for them, women struggled with competing interests. anet reno loved science. elizabeth capris, a formidable litigator out in california, i believe, was there he serious
about becoming a professional drummer -- elizabeth fraser -- elizabeth cabraser. and she did so in her time at berkeley, i believe. several had careers in journalism before opting for law school. some women were in graduate school before they committed to aw school. several applied to law school more or less as a lark. not one trailblazer -- and i think this is really impressive - not one trailblazer talked about law as a means of becoming wealthy. many understood the possibility that law, a legal career, would give them independence and that
hey would have a financial foundation, but there was no talk of getting it all. there was nothing that any of us would interpret as kind of a greedy hand being put out into our society. in her oral history, judith litman said simply being a lawyer gave me a license for activism -- judith lichtman. the oldest trailblazers attended law school with no or few other women. for the most heart, there were so few of them, that nobody bothered to talk to them. this changed in the vietnam and then title ix period when law schools accepted more women. several women in this study and women i know personally who are lawyers also reported being poked and criticized by other male law students for taking a man's place, a man who would need to support his family. hillary clinton, who is not in this particular project, in her memoir "what happened," writes that when she and a friend went to take the lsat in 1968, a group of men harassed them
before the exam saying, "why don't you go home and get arried?" one, she reports, said, "if you take my spot at law school, i'll get drafted, i'll go to vietnam, and i'll die." then she had to sit down and take the lsat. some oral histories focus on discrimination, in and outside of the classroom. in them, women speak about exclusion from study groups, a practice of ladies day, being purposely called upon to discuss
a rape case, in the hopes of eing humiliated -- the professor's hope of humiliating the -- and of being passed over for positions on law review. but other women reported loving every moment of it and felt that it had been a very stimulating xperience. there was more unanimity about the failure of law schools to police law firms who interviewed on campus but would not sign up female students. one of the early games of the law school women's movement was educating law school deans about this and having such firms barred from recruiting on ampus. another gain was the introduction of courses on women and the law into the curriculum
and the slow hiring of women faculty. ork -- the work experience formed the core of the book, and i really cannot summarize them. what i want to do, however, is read a few quotes they give you a feel of what women faced and how by themselves and with the it a of mentors, they faced down discrimination. shirley hufstetler, later federal appeals court judge in the first secretary of the u.s. department of education, ranked fifth at stanford law school, tied with warren christopher, later secretary of state. christopher was sent by stanford for a clerkship interview with supreme court justice william o douglas.
hufstetler, it was suggested, should interview for a legal ecretary's position. hufstetler said no, thanks. in her oral history, she commented, "nobody would hire me." fifth rank at stanford. "nobody would hire me, so i just created my own job mainly doing legal memoranda." she goes on, "what may startle people today is that nobody would hire a female lawyer. nobody. the profession at that time was far more segregated in every way than one might imagine now. there was no lawyer of color in a public law office. the only women in any law office were those few hired during world war ii when the men were gone.
none of them ever made partner, no matter how good they were, and of course, gentiles were not in jewish firms and the other way around, so it was just completely segregated. s nearly as her friend and i could ascertain when they tried determining what was going on in california is that there were seven of them who were female in the state of california who were admitted to the bar in the whole year of 1949. eight years earlier, shirley adelson siegal, yale law class of 1941, highly ranked and a longer view editor, found herself without any job prospects, long after the men at yale had long winded -- long landed postgraduate positions. word spread around yale where he was well-liked.
n the spring, a contract professor stopped her and handed her a list of six law firms. he said he had written personal letters to them. "they would certainly grant me an interview. i was later shown a copy of the etter. it read, 'here's a girl for whom i hope you can do something. she is one of our best in industry, in mental power, and in personality. anyone who employs her in legal work will have reason to be thankful to us. she needs help to get a starting job, first because she is a girl, and secondly, because she is jewish. there is no reason for the slightest hesitation on either ground. anything you can do for her will be a special favor to me.'" slowly the number of women
invited to interviews increased. women took positions in state and federal government. this gives you an idea of women in this project who at one point or another in their careers held government jobs. i'm sure i missed someone. write it on paper. tell me. i did not include people who had clerkships, but it gives you an idea there is now the beginning of a reach into substantial employment. trailblazers also worked on the art of the interview. when internet partner's office, took an information that led her to surmise he was interested in college football and archaeology. she knew quite a bit about each, guided the interview to those
suspects and had an offer waiting for her a day later. women, i found, did better in communities in terms of getting jobs where they or their families were known. several of these women just eased quite easily into positions. also, i saw as the 1970's went on that women got much better at using networks and establishing relationships in which they were measured by someone to help them get jobs and get promotions. making partner -- i'm just going to tell you one story, in part because we are talking about such a successful group. obviously, empirically, we have a very skewed situation. most of the women in this project who were with private firms made partner. a few did not. one story i did not expect was that of an associate in houston, later a federal appeals judge, who was wildly successful in the
corporate division of a large firm. she had one child and shortly thereafter a second. despite her success, great relations with clients, no evaluations to the contrary, her boss told her she would not make partner, and she did not. it was the early 1970's, she said, and everybody at the firm made partner. she went to partner leon aworski to ask if the firm was in any way dissatisfied with her work. "oh, no," he replied. "your work is excellent. you work harder than anyone else, and you have been very profitable for the firm, but we thought you would get pregnant after the first one and quit." she quit on the spot after saying, "what you are to me is unlawful and immoral." in a month, she was partner at another firm with a far better
salary. several of her clients went with her, one from a fortune 500 firm even went and told jaworski off. still, she reports, it took her two years to get over not making partner. obviously, one of the important areas of work, one that i devoted an entire chapter to, involves the very much increased number of women in general and among the trailblazers who joined, in particular, federal judiciary's. the reason given by so many are wofold -- jimmy carter's campaign promise and the 1978 omnibus judgeship act, which created so many new
positions. in addition, through the work of the american bar association, which was critical in that period, and nominating -- in evaluating nominees established new criteria that would help women be viewed in a different way. he result of it was that the number of women on the bench went from the abysmal numbers that we see in the second paragraph to a far larger number, and in part, that was not just because the omnibus bill created new seats, but there were a sufficient number of seats that both the senators and the white house could engage in all sorts of horsetrading, so
where a woman was put forward, there was enough space to put forward a man as well, and i was really critical to what appened. the creation of selection committees as an aspect of reform in the carter moment, was also important, and here is one example of how. trailblazers tulsa lawyer stephanie seymour worked hard, she said, to be considered for a judicial appointment to the 10th circuit court of appeals. she reports learning of the following after she was confirmed -- "when the selection committee met, there were 35 applications. the chairman announced a change in procedure. they needed to reduce the number from 35, so let's go around the table and everybody throw out someone who is obviously not ualified." he started with seymour and
throughout her name. a lay woman of the group asked why, and the chair said, "she's got for children." hen it came time for the lay woman to throw someone out, she named a man called irwin. it turned out he was the chairman's favorite candidate. horrified, the chair said, "irwin is clearly qualified," to which the lay woman member replied, "no, he has five children and could not possibly handle the job." [laughter] dr. norgren: there was some quick caucusing. the commission agreed the number of children a candidate had should not be a disqualifying factor, and in the end, seymour got the nomination and became a judge. ok, trying to be a good citizen
and keep to my time, this very, ery brief discussion which i hope we will flesh out in q&a, leads me to put two questions to you. what do these women have to do to gain access to a good legal education and a good legal career? what did they accomplish for themselves and all women? you can see these are very small questions, right? and second, what do we what to say? do women bring a gendered something to their work as lawyers? what do the trailblazers say? the list of accomplishments is long. the women helped in the increase
in enrollment of women in schools. the increase in recruitments of female law professors, the development of curriculum that have focused on women, family, and children. he slow increase in the number of women recruited as associates n law firms, the slow increase in the number of women making partner, a figure which does not today make most of us happy. they brought discussions to their firms and the government about how those organizations could be more family-friendly. several trailblazers introduced the idea of childcare leave to their firms, pay for child care, and flex time. these women helped us, along with carter and others, to increase the number of women in upper level of government. as i just talked about, there was a number of women serving on the bench. we see that several were involved in ngo' s and legal
groups that focus on women and their families, including the two here in d.c. there was project that try to educate people about women and their families, some project involving sexual harassment to the establishment of projects like the establishment of the national judicial program to promote equality for women and en in the court. building women's bar ssociation's was another accomplishment of this generation of women lawyers and also working with the american bar association to address gender issues within the profession. these women wrote and lobbied
legislation at the state and federal level, focused on gender rights. they also brought and argued gender cases, and the list goes on. trailblazers were asked -- do women bring a gendered something to the work of law, of being a lawyer? does it make a difference to have more women lawyers? there was no consensus among trailblazers. norma shapiro gave what we might think of as a justice potter stewart response. "i cannot define it, but i know that they do." judge shirley hufstetler suggested that the answer is haped by time and culture. "i think it mix of difference," she said, "because women have a different perspective.
at least they have for many years because life experiences and opportunities have been different. if they should make a difference or not, many women have been trained to think differently about all sorts of topics. -- topics." other women felt that male judges did not understand sexual harassment cases with the same clarity as their female colleagues, so it mattered that the judiciary had become more balanced. some spoke as -- some spoke of women as better listeners. they all believe women make a difference, that there is a ifference. one pointed to an opinion in which the majority had held that rape was not a physical injury for purposes of enhanced entence, so her dissenting opinion on this matter ultimately changed the law.
elizabeth casey i think gives us a quote that we might end with, a support for the case of women's prisons. "the more the population can identify with those who are making those decisions as having something in common, the more i think they have for the administration of law. i really do think it is true that you often feel comfortable with somebody with whom you can feel you have something in common." think about the michelle obama photograph. "that can be age. it can be gender. it can be ethnicity. it can be knowing you came from the same neighborhood. with women on the bench, you roaden the life experience which is brought to the bench
which is very important. the law should be reflective of the people to whom it applies and who should be part of the group. women are a part of our population, and that needs to be a part of the discussion." thank you. [applause] professor strum: thank you very, very much. now we turn the microphone's over to you. ime for q&a. i neglected to mention that c-span is covering this session, so if you want to remain anonymous, do not ask a question, but, hopefully, everybody else will. when you ask a question, please identify yourself first. wait for the microphone to come to you so that the recording can pick up your voice. our people ready to start because if you are not ready to start, the chair is going to tart and who knows how long it will be before you can get your
chance? hands? i'm going to ask and methodological question then. given that enormous amount of material which is just -- i'm awestruck by somebody going through that much material -- how did you make a decision, not only of how to organize it because the organization seems to work extremely well, but what as in all of those categories? jill norgren --dr. norgren: reat question. i was perhaps that i had been more savvy with i.t. when i started. i suspect listening to some of y colleagues in new york -- at - i participate in a group of professional women who write biographies -- that there are ways now that one could make the process a little bit easier, but i think that linda and brooks
lee set up such a good template for the interviewers to use that even though i did not have a template myself, i quickly saw there was a pattern to what everybody was being asked, and i would say for the most part, people were terribly well behaved and would respond in like manner so that pretty quickly, i could start establishing computer files that ultimately spoke to me in a ense that this is a chapter, this is a chapter, this is a chapter. i would say if there is something that i left out ecause the comments were a little bit too scattered and my own knowledge was too weak, was a discussion of bar association. i think some of you will read
this and say you would like to hear more about what was going on. sometimes women only said, "i was a member of the women's bar of such and such a state," and not go into the work very uch. that made it difficult to create a narrative around that, but i would say that somebody could mine these interviews and other histories and do a very nice piece both on women bar association's and on changes at the american bar. professor strum: thank you. all right, let's start over here please. just wait for the icrophone. yes, the microphone is oming. >> i'm claudine schwebber at university of maryland.
what time blocks are you using? because someone was the only one in an entity or it looks like you went up to the 1970's? was that because so-and-so was the only one at the time? believe it or not, i actually know about mabel walker wilburn. dr. norgren: i was handed the nterviews. i had nothing to do -- i think at one lunch, i suggested something to you, but if one or is a review want to talk time. t had to do obviously with who was alive. start with that. do you want to say anything? can we get a microphone there please?
>> well, we started as a project of the aba commission of women in the profession. part of the concept was to memorialize the wonderful histories of the women who were receiving the margaret brent award. those people were chosen on two criteria -- one, excellence in their careers in the legal profession and secondly, excellence in opening doors for other women, which was part of the reason we use the term trailblazing. a great number of the oral histories are done by women who got the margaret brent award.
others are those who fit very well those same criteria -- court of appeals appointments and the like. professor strum: thank you. other questions? all the way in the back. dr. norgren: well, right in front of brooks lee. right in front of brooks lee. >> hi, brooks lee. >> i am on the court of appeals for the sixth circuit. [applause] thank you for the book. thank you for the time of going through all the resumes. as i stand here, you know we are commemorating the 150th anniversary of the 14th amendment, and i was delighted to hear you talk about the role the civil rights movement played really and the whole role of the achievements in the gender realm. i wondered if you were able to
discern in the biographies any of the themes when it came to women of color. i understand probably the stories of african-american women, while they will come somewhat after the role of women in the majority culture, but were you able to look at any of the themes from women who were asian-american or latinos or even native american women? if those themes parallel the themes of the majority of people that you have put -- not necessarily the numbers, because i know the numbers are going to be less than, but simply the themes in their struggle or accomplishments. thank you.: terrific question. i think two things strike me.
african-american women who agreed to participate, some of those oral histories expressed deep feelings of frustration and anger over racism, and there is a commitment to law school that has to do with the belief that there can be change. once those women are out of law school, i think that group divides between those who are so frustrated, both with the racism but also with the the tension they feel with white male lawyers who come to the south and believe that they know what has to be done, and there is attention -- there is a tension there between
those who have lived the life and those who have not. others come out of the experience with more optimism. we are probably dealing with both place and personality. and i think, with respect to white women in the trailblazing project, there is, among a great number, particularly those who want to go to law school in the late 1960's and early 1970's, clearly the civil rights movement has affected them deeply, and it has affected them in particular with the sense that you can do something. i mean, that is what comes up the page, that you can do something that changes possibility, so there is a discussion in those oral histories about a belief in social justice and that you can participate in the process of bringing it. the handful of women who are
latina have all had involvement with public interest law groups, so again i think have that commitment to bring economic and through that kind of career. there is no -- if i am right, there is no asian-american -- one, right. so again, we all have to remember, and i remember asking linda and brooks late this -- how did i ask the question? -- how were women chosen? we have to remember the commitment you all made in terms of time and willingness to open up and share information that perhaps you had not talked about so much was considerable. some people didn't have the good health to participate. some people didn't have the
time. others wanted to maintain privacy. >> all the way in the back, then we will come back to the table. >> thank you. corey amron, retired lawyer but now president of women lawyers on guard. i have a similar question -- and maybe this was not asked in the survey -- but do these women have a sense of hope for the future? do they think we are plateaued? do they think -- i mean, aside from what is going on now. [laughter] or do they have a sense of well, that is all there is? dr. norgren: again, great question.
the interview -- thank you for asking that. 2005, and are there a few that are being completed now? ok. but i think -- i had to work with what i was given and in effect say, i am not going to read any new ones. so i think i probably ended with about 2014 or 2015. i think in terms of broad social issues, the interview that actually stands out in my mind the most about wondering about the future would be our recently departed friend esther, who was showing some pessimism about pro bono and what was going to happen as a part of social justice as well as much broader
issues. i think where i was beginning to see questions on the future was with work-family balance. i am glad to have the opportunity, because i knew if i talked about it while i was speaking formally that i would not stop. it was obviously something -- people were asked about it and virtually everybody spoke on it. 90% of the women were married and nearly all had children, so nearly all were engaged in a balance both with a partner and with children. by the time these women, who had come up with their various solutions that range from live-in help to one person who's mom and dad sold their house and moved up the west coast to live with them. there were other moms or dads who came.
there was one dad who came and for several years looked after his grandchildren. people made their individual plans on how to look after their children. but in talking about it with their interviewers, they started speaking about the increase in billable hours, and to a person, to a woman, they said, i don't think i could have done it. i don't think i could do what is being asked of men and women today. because they were looking at -- and some of you are going to have to augment what i am saying who know it better -- they were looking at situations in which were they were asked to bill 1500, 1600, maybe 1800 hrs a year, whereas people now are being asked to bill anywhere from 2000 to even 2400, and that is a huge change.
so i think there is pessimism on that. there was only the beginning of a discussion about the globalization of law firms, of private law firms, so i think in this particular project, that is not something that is addressed because it was just beginning, but i think in terms of the profession, this is obviously a huge question. >> ok, i thought there was a hand at the table. that's just get the table and then i promise we will get back to you. >> sheila hollis, i am a partner at glenn morris. your stories are extremely profound, and at many points in the lives of the women who you chronicle in the book and are part of the trailblazers, they have taken some real serious punches in life. is there any one characteristic that you identified that enabled them to crawl back up and get
back into the game? dr. norgren: if you give me two, i would say a supportive partner and humor. i have said to members of my family, as i would come up every night having read one more something that the humor really strikes me. and then there are a few people who are take no prisoners. [laughter] dr. norgren: you know, so, i am not sure they were ever -- well, they were knocked down. but i think when i read their discussions of work-family balance, a number of people really underscored the importance of a supportive was ar where the partner man -- and in most cases with
these people, it was a man. they talked about men who were not threatened by a successful spouse, and then just this lovely, lovely humor. i think the tears were hidden a bit. i appreciated this one history from the associate at fulbright gski, who was very honest about how long it took her to recover despite the fact that she in many ways walked out in glory. think about your cells. -- think about yourselves. smart, ambitious, curious, creative, you all are. it is not until somebody punches you the first time, because you have been nothing but successful. there are a couple of quotes in
the book from people like ,hirley siegal and herrera where they chattered away when they were three or four and people said, a lawyer in the making. then when you get that first big clomp on your head, there are either tears or laughter. >> in the back, please. >> hi, i am sharon, the current president of the new york state bar, and i was pleased to take the oral history of the first woman president of the new york state bar. my question is -- i think a theme would be that there were some incredibly helpful men along the way. i was wondering if you saw a pattern of a type of men who were particularly helpful to the trailblazers. dr. norgren: great. again, i could have talked about
mentoring, and i know that was a subject that was very important to the project. that linda and brooks lee cared about. you know, i didn't know many of the men mentioned well enough, but i would say that something i do try and underscore in the book is how important male mentors were, and obviously they had to be, because they were the only folks around, right? most people well into the 1960's, whether it was a government office or law firm, you know, had possibly one woman around who was at the lawyer level. and, you know, i think we would have to know something about the men's biographies to know, you know, did they have four girls at home and felt the sky should
be the limit for all women? the only thing that i think i could say that i do know about the characteristics of the men would be the husband that i mentioned or that the women mentioned. if you want to call a husband a mentor rather than all the other things we call our husbands. [laughter] dr. norgren: all the other good things. [laughter] dr. norgren: but, you know. but clearly, whether it is somebody in government or a law firm, they had to be people who believed that social justice included everybody. and they had to believe that society lost a great deal when such a substantial part of the population is left out. professor strum: another
question in the back, please. >> thank you very much. i am joseph from sierra beyond. -- from sierra leone. i'm a fulbright scholar. for the humphrey fellowship program, i decided to focus on economic development. during my classwork at michigan state university, i realized the role of women in development, and in sierra leone more than half of the population is made up of women. so, i noticed that over the years that the women in sierra leone have been struggling seriously to see how best they could be included in governance and so many other things.
currently what we are pushing or thetrongly is to -- f government structure to include them at least up to 30%. so i start realizing within this fellowship program that that all by itself is not fair enough, right? talking about 30% inclusion. when these set of people make up more than half of the population. necessarily that we don't have educated women in sierra leone. today, i am very privileged to listen to this. lawyersealized that the , especially the women in law, are very, very much instrumental, right, in empowering their advocacy in
participation. but unfortunately what is happening in sierra leone is the female lawyers are not very much strong in the advocacy for women participation. we have women that are doing that. you have different groups. so this will be the take-home after my humphrey fellowship program. that is going to be one of my agenda items, to see how best i get to these female lawyers and tell them, you guys have a role to play. it is not just about going to the court, talking about the issues regarding law. it is about how you empower the young girls coming up, giving them the confidence that they can do better. other people are promoting stem, especially for young girls, encouraging them to go into the sciences. nowi have just learned here
, it is my personal conviction that the more women we have in better the participation and the more they develop confidence to involve in governance, to involve in other economic development issues. currently we just have a new government and we have got cabinet ministers, just five women in the cabinet. it is really not too good for our country because if the women do not participate fully in governance, there is no way my country is going to develop. that is how i have viewed it so far. so probably the question i would want to ask now is whether you will be able to allow me to contact you more so that i learn more from what you have explained today and probably get some of those materials. especially the summary. you gave a summary after your presentation. i see that in the united states,
the women have been involved in various projects over the years and that has made them succeed. so -- dr. norgren: many of the women in this room. >> yes, so it has been my passion to see how i pass on this message to women in sierra leone to show them they have a role to play and probably show them some of these indicators as to how they could go further with that. thank you very much. professor strum: do you want to say anything? dr. norgren: just one thing i would say to you is where people have access to the internet, i think reading the oral histories is both inspiring and -- critically to what you are saying -- instructive about what you can do, how you can proceed. >> sometimes it is also good if people can talk to people that are --
dr. norgren: absolutely. >> the people who eventually succeeded. professor strum: right. let's move on to the next question. there is another one here. wait for the microphone, please. actually i was thinking of something that just came up before. if there are women here who are part of the project, could they share something -- dr. norgren: it is not my project. my book. i feel badly taking credit for the project. professor strum: those who were interviewed, could you all share some things about your experience? if we have -- i mean, here are the people. are you one of them, ma'am? maybe there are some others. would that be all right? is there anybody in that category who would like to speak? would you give that lady the microphone, please? >> as an interviewer and as an
interviewee, it was very exciting. there were a number of years apart in playing both roles, but i had the privilege of getting deep into the history of the national women's law center and doing them to interview, which has -- doing an interview, which has been on pbs and c-span and is a wonderful, wonderful interview, very profound. then several years later i had the privilege of being interviewed in energy law, which is a pretty rough and ready kind of place to start out. [laughter] and some of the more amusing and less amusing stories from that, some of the but it takes tremendous dedication to do the interviews, on both coming and an off aes, and takes lot of time and bares an awful
lot of old wounds. tough, tough sometimes. dr. norgren: to think back on one's earlier years. >> it's not out of the woods yet, so to speak, by any stretch of the imagination. every day, every day, whether it is internal to your own personal situation in the law firm or any capacity where you are still at it and active in it, or standing back and being part of something broader now. certainly we live a lot of those experiences on an ongoing basis. the gentleman here who spoke on the situation in africa, having the privilege of being able to tell tales around the world of some of those experiences. it is very moving and it really helps you center your thoughts. i am credibly -- i'm incredibly grateful to both brooks lee and linda for involving me in it early on. i've seen the trajectory as interviewee and interviewer, and it was a very emotional experience.
dr. norgren: interesting. professor strum: somebody way over in the back, the lady all the way -- >> thank you. loretta. i am one of the women in the project. first of all, i want to thank forks lee and linda championing this project and making sure it went through. the second thing, this would not have happened without the interviewers. i want you to know that my interviewer was catherine stetson. she came to my home. i think, if i remember, three different times and sat in my interview with me and took a lot of time out of a very busy schedule. so we really owe them a debt of gratitude for doing this. reflect ont made me
some things i had almost forgotten, which actually as i was asked those questions and answer them, made me realize that they had been a consistent theme in my life, and it also made me realize that there are ups and downs in everyone's life and that younger people, if they ever read any of this -- [laughter] realize that those of us who were fortunate enough to be part of this project, there were missteps here and there along the way, fortunately nothing big you could not overcome, but in fact that is just life, so the same thing can happen to them as well. i just want to thank you. dr. norgren: thank you. [applause] professor strum: we have time for one more. the lady over here, please. >> i am lois shifrin. i was an interviewee.
it was a great honor. i say ditto to what was said before because i am going to turn my attention to this moment, where for those of us who were interviewed and who therefore have some both trailblazing and leadership role, we are at a very difficult time in our country for women and the rule of law, and i think all of us should take on the obligation of both telling the story of the importance of the rule of law and reiterating the role of women in maintaining the rule of law, and that we all have that obligation. [applause] professor strum: that is a wonderful note on which to end. before we break, i would like to say, sadly, that because of other things going on in the center, there will not be a reception today. we invite you to return next week when we will continue this
discussion, in a sense. rice will be speaking -- elaine rice will be speaking about her "the women's hour: the last furious fight to win the women's vote," and for those of you who have not already purchased the book, and i do see some on the table, there are more books to purchase outside. again, thanks to all of you for coming in. let us thank our author of the day. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] american history tv, we are also taking your questions and your comments --
you are vote, i should say. the question is, which party changed the most since 1968? the boat right now with more than 24,000 casting their votes say the democrats change the most. 56%. the republicans at 44%. announcer: thanks to everyone who voted on our twitter polls 1968: america in turmoil. more than 200,000 votes were posted on issues ranging from the vietnam war to the presidential election to women's rights and race relations. you can tweet us questions and comments during live events, see video previews of upcoming programs, or look back to what happened on this day in american history on twitter @c-span history. announcer: this week on the communicators, ftc commissioner michael o'rielly on the elimination of net neutrality an expected surge in corporate
mergers after the at&t/time warner merger. mr. o'reilly is interviewed by paul kirby. >> the last administration under obama, both chairman wheeler and the head of the antitrust commission felt that this should not be changed. t-mobile and sprint did not try to merge. should there be more nationwide wireless carriers? >> i do not have such a structure. i want to take the application that is put before the commission and analyze that in terms of what is the data that is presented, what are the circumstances in the marketplace, what are the qualifications and capabilities of the current providers? what are the promises they are providing, the opportunities they may be able to bring to consumers? what is the debt they are taking on? are they going to be able to meet the obligations with us and the department of justice? i will look at the application as forthright, and i don't have
an artificial number that it should be this or that. there are benefits to having more and benefits to having stronger providers. i want to see what the circumstance may be announcer: lunch "the communicators" on c-span2. announcer: next on "lectures in history," douglas kennedy of the u.s. air force academy teaches a class on the vietnam war's operation rolling thunder air campaign, which took place from 1965 to 1968. he describes the goals of the campaign, like destroying north vietnam's transportation system, and also talks about the limitations put in place to avoid antagonizing other communist powers like the soviet union and the people's republic of china. this class runs about 50 minutes. >> thanks, it is good to see you here today. as you know, we did the reading, two big chapters.